Vets: Pet care changes as dogs age

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Older dogs bring a new set of health issuesDog owners who have maintained a regimented practice of monitoring pet health may need to make changes in care to accommodate older dogs, some veterinarians suggest.

Dr Vern Otte, a veterinarian in suburban Kansas City warns that as dogs get older, the diagnosis of medical conditions can be obscured by misleading symptoms. For instance, Cushing’s syndrome is a common disease among mature dogs that is sometimes mistaken for diabetes, though requires different treatment.

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by a tumor on the pituitary or adrenal gland and causes thirst, lethargy, an increased appetite, excessive panting, hair loss and thick skin.

If Cushing’s is diagnosed early and treated with an FDA-approved product, the dog can have a much happier and longer life," says Dr Audrey Cook, clinical professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. She advises checking all dogs over seven years of age for the symptoms.

If left untreated, the disease, which can be diagnosed using special blood tests, can lead to diabetes, blood clots in the lungs, kidney infections, urinary tract infections or an inflamed pancreas.

In the cases of such medical treatments, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.

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